Sunday, 5 December 2010

The return of the "Scud"?

Mark Philippoussis is planning a shock Wimbledon comeback.

Sources close to Philippoussis have told The Sun-Herald the "Scud" is plotting a return to the professional ranks at the All England Club, the scene of his 2003 final loss to Swiss maestro Roger Federer.

Philippoussis gave the first indication he was serious about another crack at the big time after winning a Champion Series event in October.

"I've just fallen back in love with the sport on the Champions Series," Philippoussis said after thrashing former World No.1 Jim Courier in the final at Arizona.

And while there are no plans to contest January's Australian Open, it is understood the 34-year-old has his sights set on the third major of 2011.

"He wants to make his comeback at Wimbledon," the source said.

"His mentality and approach is quite different to what it has been in the past. He's matured and realises he never fulfilled his potential. He is very dedicated at the moment. He is adamant that he still has something to prove to people."

The precociously talented Philippoussis accumulated 11 tournament wins, reached a career-high world ranking of No.8 and led Australia to two Davis Cup titles. Attitude and injury problems - he has had six major knee operations - have prevented him from reaching the heights many expected.

After practising with Andy Roddick for five days in September, the American star believed Philippoussis could mount an ATP return.

"There's no question he could come out and win some matches," Roddick said in a recent interview. "It's just a matter of if he could stay healthy - and that's the big if. He's certainly capable."

Courier said: "When Mark plays well and he plays that first-strike tennis, he can play with anybody."

As a former Wimbledon finalist, officials could give him a wildcard.

Despite earning $7 million prize money during his pro career, Philippoussis has run into financial problems. He was hit with a bankruptcy notice after defaulting on the mortgage for his home in Williamstown, in Melbourne's south-west.

Money is not the only motivating factor in his bid to return to the pro tour. "He could probably earn $500,000 just from playing the Champions Series," the source said.

"It's about what he wants out of life. He is training really hard and is in a really good head space."

Courtesy: Dominion Post

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